Strategy for payroll race by Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam

As the race for payroll heats up among conventional banks, Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) is not sweating as it cobbles together a strategy it will launch next month, the Islamic bank’s top executive yesterday said.

Saved Ahmad, BIBD acting managing director, in an interview with The Brunei Times, said that “fundamentally we are not convinced that that’s what we want to go for (other banks’ lucky draw promotions), so don’t wait for something similar for us. We are hoping to have something different and of course it will be attractive.”

When asked whether BIBD is losing payrolls to conventional banks, Saved said that everyone reading the advertisements would know that they are only for the short term. lie believes that over the longer term, customers value longterm relationships and benefits they are going to get.

“There may be some customers who might actually be excited about the ongoing promotions out there, but I believe that our customers are far … smarter than that. With that said, it is actually a competitive environment and it is important for every bank to provide what they actually believe is the best in the end for their customer. We’ll see,” he added.

As for BIBD’s credit card line, Saved said that BIBD has a card which works overseas and locally but aren’t going to stop there. “We want to continuously improve our product and service proposition to make sure it is actually on par with international standards. I think overall, we look at financial services in a more holistic matter and purely to focus on credit cards as a tool to win all the customers’ financial requirement, in my view, is totally flawed.

Having said that, there are banks who generate all their revenue from credit retail so it is their livelihood,” Saved explained. Hjh Nurul Akmar Hj Jaafar, BIBD’s head of sales and distribution channel, said that at the moment, the bank is progressively looking at introducing new options and it’s in the pipeline. “Insyaallah, we will make sure that the proposition is at par with other international banks.”

Javed said that BIBD’s current offering is the cheapest credit card in the country. “If a customer saves seven per cent per annum, they are far far better off than even the lucky draws being offered. Being seven per cent cheaper is not even on a compounding basis, which makes us the cheapest card in Brunei, not to mention, we are the only bank in the country that has a cash back for amounts used or invested. We give customers a certain percentage back in terms of cash,” he said.

He cited that if a customer is having financial difficulty, on S10,000 used, he would be able to save $700 per year.

“I think that’s the main emphasis for us – points, how much points can you actually accumulate? Lucky draw winners, how many $10,000 winners can a bank offer? And is it on a monthly basis, yearly?” he added.

BIBD’s aim is to help customer save, said Hjh Nurul Akmar, adding that the bank is educating customers especially those who are tempted by promotions from conventional banks. “You need to look into the fine print where there are charges for interest at conventional banks. We ask customers if they really understand the terms and conditions behind this and we want them to make their decisions based on longterm benefits not these current promotions,” she said.

When asked whether there would be customers who jump between banks to get more chances of winning the lucky draws, Javed said that customers understand they are not all going to get the rewards and think that overall, there is a need to make sure it is inclusive not exclusive.

“The process of moving one’s salary is not easy and it costs. Clearance letters from banks are not cheap so what we worry most is not about the promotion, but the fear that our customers might fall into much deeper debt. That is our biggest fear,” said Hjh Nurul Akmar.

Javed said BIBD is the first bank to scrap the concept of a balance certificate and letters of transfers since more than a year ago. “If a particular customer is unhappy with the bank’s service, they are going to be even more unhappy if they have to pay a large sum to move his or her account to another. So, we were the first one to say that this is totally unfair to customers and we got away with it,” Javed said.

source : The Brunei Times

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